Sunday, October 02, 2011

Tribes Collection

Reposting the old series from 3-5 years ago. I collected all my “tribes” writing into one post for easier reference later. And now it's later. People who have been following the blog might enjoy the refresher. Newer readers might like to see what is probably my main partly-original contribution to the world's discussions. These are in chronological order, not importance or intelligence.
The Influence of Doonesbury
Trudeau inherited the mantle of righteousness from the folksingers, and became the chief exponent of the idea that conservatives were essentially stupid and had evil motives.
Early Tribes Writing
I recall going into Walmart a few years ago and thinking "There's a lot of ethnic folks here. Huh." I thought immediately after, "I wonder if that's what the people who hate Walmart are really objecting to. There are poor people here, immigrants, odd-looking people."
Types of Answers in Education
Modern study in much of the Liberal Arts and Humanities rewards students for a certain type of answer.
But "Postliberal" also gives a sense of my history and my approach to issues.
Evolutionary Psychology
Evolutionary psychologists speak of survival strategies of individuals being bound up in the survival strategies of the group.
Not Their Tribe
The Arts & Humanities crowd in America do not support OIF, or indeed nearly any war, because they do not perceive their tribe to be in danger.
Hoist On My Own Petard
John b made the claim that doubt was the defining characteristic for Episcopalians, which I scoffed at.
A Thought On Hollywood Liberals
The explanations why entertainment folks lean left usually identify two factors: they make their livings via emotion, and they aren’t very bright. That’s too facile. I offer two factors which have more explanatory power.
The Sadness of NPR Christmas
Year-round, NPR tends to the bittersweet, the witty rather than uproarious, the world-weary rather than the cynical, the poignant, the melancholy, the wistful.
C.P. Snow's Two Cultures Today
Scientist and novelist CP Snow declared fifty years ago that the educated classes were becoming two cultures, literary and scientific.
Renaming The Tribe
I have already mentioned my desire to rename what I have been calling the Arts & Humanities Tribe. While the name has the right feel to it, it does not enclose the group as neatly as I would like. It does not mention the social science folks who make up a large portion of the tribe, and it suggests a connection between the humanities and political liberalism that is permanent rather than temporary.
The Other Tribes
Science and Technology Tribe – Call it the Geek Tribe if you want, but they are gradually taking over social sciences, and making inroads into arts and entertainment, so I wouldn’t insult them too much.
State of the Discussion
Several commenters have advocated that I delineate my tribes according to cognitive styles: left-brain, right-brain; pragmatic, synthesizer.
A&H Tribe - Plodding Onward
Pew’s identified group of Liberals (19% of the population) are outliers on many issues.
Tribe, Class, and Cold Pizza
In the comments sections of one of my Tribal posts, Cold Pizza linked to a long but excellent article on the Rand Corp site about tribalism and its effect on societal development.
Arts & Humanities Clans
There are A&H subgroups, with varying degrees of adherence to the larger group’s values.
Science & Technology Tribe in Humor
All those MIT and Caltech jokes over the years - the third guy on the guillotine who looks up at it and says "Hey, I see why that thing doesn't work," for example, illustrate the S&T culture. This group often has the enormous social confidence of themselves writing most of the humor making fun of them.
How Shall The Country Be Run?
When disputants not only give different answers, but different types of answers, it is likely they are answering different questions. If they not only give different evidence, but different types of evidence, we can use this to discover what are the questions behind the questions that the various parties are asking.
Peter Leithart over at has been making frequent reference to Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, a German social philosopher who moved to America in 1932, teaching first at Harvard, then many years at Dartmouth. I had never heard of this man in any context that I remember, but he does seem to have been quite brilliant, and quite fascinating.
That Tribal Name Again
I had thought the term chattering classes was older. A Dorothy Parker term or something of that era. According to the revised OED entry, however, it dates from 1980.
Running Commentary
Robert Fulghum has a mildly interesting piece about American tribal behavior. I recall similar pieces from college sociology and anthropology texts, purporting to view America from an objective standpoint.
Sunday Mornings
The idea of having other gods is a commonplace for Christians. We hear sermons on it, read books about it, teach it to our children. We know from the examination of our own hearts that such things are not only possible, but the natural state of things. There is a spiritual Second Law of Thermodynamics that says we will move inexorably toward lesser, path-of-least-resistance gods unless organizing energy is put into the system.
Imus In The Morning
He had Chris Matthews this morning complaining about George Bush. I keep telling you, they hate him because he's from the wrong tribe.
The Long Post
It starts on family culture, ends on American Tribal Politics. I will summarize the latter soon under "Surprise #2." For those scoring at home, I am in my 50's - the uncle I write to here is 80. The Arts & Humanities Tribe may be changing in the younger generations.
The Soul of America
Conservatives complain that the left is not serious about the War on Terror, but is treating Bush and the neocons as the enemy. Put less confrontively, the left is fighting a different battle - one for the soul of America.
The Ideas, and Why They're Wrong
If we fight, we are becoming just like our enemies. Well, no. The express train to becoming like our enemies is to be conquered by them. A slower, but equally reliable train, is to negotiate with them.
The Internationalist Elite as Secular Religion
Kenneth Anderson of Washington College of Law at American University and the Hoover Institute at Stanford has an article which will be dear to the heart of those who have participated in the discussion of American tribes: Secular Eschatologies and Class Interests of the Internationalized New Class.
Why Do Intellectuals Oppose The Military?
Schooling, maintains Nozick, breeds in intellectuals a sense of superiority, and with it a sense of entitlement to the highest rewards society has to offer - not just top salaries but praise comparable to that lavished on them by their teachers.


Jerub-Baal said...

OK, this is late to the party, but you might be interested in The Passive-Aggressive Jihad by David Thompson, where he talks about the cult of victimization. The 'tribe-money-quote,' "Perhaps we’ll soon have a grievance arms race on our hands, as various Tribes of Perpetual Hurt and Indignation follow the Islamic model and vie for the upper hand, with tears in their eyes and a list of unilateral demands: “Feel my pain.” “No, feel my pain!” “My pain is the greatest! Feel it! Feel it now…!”

I think he's hit on an idea of a tribe that has become (unfortunately) central to our culture.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Thanks for the link. I'll follow up tonight. I was thinking today of the contrast between the Eastern Europeans and the Islamic nations. Both have suffered greatly. The latter thinks the solution is to make the rest of the world suffer so that we all understand them. The former have more the idea that "No, we think it would be a good idea if we solve this by us not suffering anymore." All the difference in the world, isn't it?

Texan99 said...

Oh, man, I come back from a couple of weeks of vacation and find that catching up on your site involves catching up on several years' worth of thought-provoking themes! I'm not going to get anything else done this week.